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Abstract Details

Abstract Title

Embracing City Life: Recreational Sports Activities of the New Generation of Migrant Workers in Urban China

Abstract Theme

Sport sociology

Type Presentation

Oral presentation

Abstract Authors

Presenter Huan Xiong - South China Normal University (School of Sports Science) - CN

Presentation Details

Room: Terra        Date: 1 September        Time: 15:00:00        Presenter: Huan Xiong

Abstract Resume

After three decades of contributing to the Chinese economy and society, the first generation of rural-to-urban migrant workers is being replaced by a new generation in the urban labour market. In
contrast to their predecessors, these new migrant workers are younger, better educated, less connected to the countryside, and desired to embrace city life, gaining a social identity as a member of
the urban citizen (Cheng, 2014). As an important part of urban lifestyle, participation in recreational sports activities became a new approach for the younger migrant workers to assimilate to the
modern industrial culture of their present environment. This study draws on original data from interviews of migrant workers in Pearl River Delta of Guangdong province, it tries to find out in which
ways the recreational sport activities would hold the ‘urban dream’ of the migrant workers who were from the rural land. According to the findings, first of all, taking part in recreational sport
expanded the scale of living spaces of migrant workers, beyond the limit among factories, canteens and dormitories. Secondly, participation in recreational sports contributed to building an solidarity
(sport groups or organisations) of migrant workers, through which they can not only share the same values and customs but also show their bondings as newly urban dwellers, and their collective needs
for fitness, entertainments and higher quality of life were taken into account by urban planners. Thirdly, recreational sports activities enhanced migrant workers’ self-centered values rather than
family-oriented values. This new value would allow them enjoy pastime life, spending more money and time of their own interests. Fourthly, many young migrant workers admitted that through the agency
of modern sport, they had developed a sense of belonging to the urban community, with hope to stay in cities. Finally, this research also finds that the involvement in sport has not only impacted on
migrant workers’ own self-identity, but also changed the stereotypical image of rural migrant workers of being poor, dirty, vulgar, and uncivilized. In urban society, the cultural, socioeconomic, and
psychological differences between migrant workers and urban citizens diminish gradually. In conclusion, for the new generation of migrant workers, taking part in recreational sport has became a new
platform to be involved in urban way of life, though there are still barriers and restriction set up by institutional bodies and sub-culture of social network from the rural sides.

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